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USMNT midfielder McKennie returns to Schalke training, February return expected

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United States men’s national team midfielder Weston McKennie is back training with Schalke’s first-team, and is on course to make his return to action in February.

In mid-December, during Schalke’s match against Eintracht Frankfurt, the 21-year-old was taken off the field on a stretcher after suffering a gruesome shoulder injury.

Shortly after the match, it was confirmed that McKennie had dislocated his left shoulder and would be out until at least February, according to manager David Wagner. “[Weston will] undergo a conservative course of treatment which means he won’t be able to play again until February,” he said.

However, the midfielder’s has made significant progress in rehabilitation and has joined Schalke in their mid-year training camp in southern Spain ahead of Bundesliga’s second half of the season.

McKennie isn’t only participating in individual drills, but he is also involved in the majority of full training with the rest of his teammates with the exception of tackling.

The FC Dallas has made 13 league appearances for the Royal Blues this season, starting a total of 10 for Bundesliga’s fifth-place side. Schalke returns to league action on January 17, as they host a tough Borussia Monchengladbach.

Bundesliga wrap: Teen debutant wins it for Bayern; Gladbach wins

Bundesliga Bayern Munich Zirkzee
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The Bundesliga keeps delivering the goods one day after Dortmund and Leipzig’s 3-3 thriller.

Late heroics from a teenage debutant gave Bayern Munich a place four points back of the table lead in a midweek Bundesliga match day with plenty of goals.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Elsewhere, Gladbach rejoined RB Leipzig on a league-best point total, while Schalke made it five teams within five points of the top with a draw at Wolfsburg.

Bayer Leverkusen 0-1 Hertha Berlin

Jurgen Klinsmann scored his best result yet of a very young tenure with Hertha Berlin, surprising the hosts through Karim Rekik‘s 64th minute goal.

Bayer had 71 percent of the ball, but the visitors won’t care one bit.

Hertha is 2-1-1 since Klinsmann took the reins ahead of a daunting run of fixtures versus Borussia Dortmund (loss), Eintracht Frankfurt (draw), Freiburg (win), and now Bayer.

Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 Paderborn

Gladbach scored an expected win over its last place visitors to climb level on points with leaders RB Leipzig. Lars Stindl had a goal and an assist, setting up Alassane Plea for the opener just after halftime. USMNT veteran Fabian Johnson came off the bench late for Gladbach.

Wolfsburg 1-1 Schalke

Former Newcastle man Kevin Mbabu scored an 82nd minute equalizer as the hosts claimed a point against David Wagner‘s visitors. Schalke’s goal came in the 50th minute through Ozan Kabak.

USMNT center back John Brooks went the distance again for Wolfsburg, with one shot, four interceptions, and 37-of-50 passing out of the back.

Freiburg 1-3 Bayern Munich

Welcome to the show, Joshua Zirkzee.

Bayern’s 18-year-old Dutch prospect made his Bundesliga debut in the 90th minute and scored the match winner in the third minute of stoppage.

He entered the day with four senior minutes, all coming in the Champions League versus Spurs.

Serge Gnabry set up the goal and scored one of his own in the fifth minute of stoppage time to erase any doubt of three points.

The opener comes with an especially nice highlight for Canada’s brightest product, as Alphonso Davies flew down the wing to set up some Polish striker for his 30th goal of the season. It’s December.

 

Eintracht Frankfurt 2-4 Koln

A 2-0 lead for the hosts after 30 minutes is a thing of the past thanks to goals from four different scorers, two set up by second half sub Florian Kainz.

Filip Kostic set up both of Eintracht’s goals, while USMNT wide man Timothy Chandler saw a yellow card on a fairly rough day.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 RB Leipzig 16 10 4 2 45 19 26 4-2-1 6-2-1 34
 Mönchengladbach 16 11 1 4 33 18 15 7-1-1 4-0-3 34
 Bayern Munich 16 9 3 4 44 22 22 5-1-2 4-2-2 30
 Borussia Dortmund 16 8 6 2 40 22 18 5-3-0 3-3-2 30
 FC Schalke 04 16 8 5 3 27 19 8 4-3-1 4-2-2 29
 SC Freiburg 16 7 4 5 25 21 4 4-2-2 3-2-3 25
 Bayer Leverkusen 16 7 4 5 22 21 1 3-4-2 4-0-3 25
 VfL Wolfsburg 16 6 6 4 18 16 2 3-4-2 3-2-2 24
 1899 Hoffenheim 16 7 3 6 23 27 -4 3-1-4 4-2-2 24
 FC Augsburg 16 6 5 5 27 28 -1 4-2-2 2-3-3 23
 1. FC Union Berlin 16 6 2 8 19 22 -3 5-0-4 1-2-4 20
 Eintracht Frankfurt 16 5 3 8 26 27 -1 4-3-2 1-0-6 18
 Hertha BSC Berlin 16 5 3 8 22 29 -7 3-0-4 2-3-4 18
 FSV Mainz 05 16 6 0 10 25 38 -13 3-0-4 3-0-6 18
 1. FC Köln 16 4 2 10 18 32 -14 2-1-4 2-1-6 14
 Werder Bremen 16 3 5 8 23 40 -17 1-2-5 2-3-3 14
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 16 3 3 10 16 35 -19 2-1-4 1-2-6 12
 SC Paderborn 16 2 3 11 18 35 -17 1-1-6 1-2-5 9

Bundesliga wrap: Schalke GK gets karate red card; Gladbach loses

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Borussia Monchengladbach failed in its bid to reclaim the top spot on the Bundesliga table, and Schalke overcame an eye-widening red card on Sunday.

[ MORE: Klinsmann gets 1st win ]

That means RB Leipzig ends the weekend in first.

Schalke 1-0 Eintracht Frankfurt

USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie suffered a painful injury and was stretchered off the pitch, but that wasn’t the most painful looking incident of the day.

That honor goes to this Alexander Nubel red card intervention on Mijat Gacinovic, who — you’re not gonna believe this — did not finish the game.

Schalke won the match anyway, riding Benito Raman’s 53rd goal to the win. David Wagner‘s men are now just five points off the table lead, a point above Bayern Munich and a point below Borussia Dortmund.

Wolfsburg 2-1 Borussia Monchengladbach

Wolfsburg got a much-needed win to deprive Gladbach of a return to the top of the table.

The hosts started the season unbeaten in nine matches but had lost four of five to fall well off the title pace.

Wolfsburg’s Xaver Schlager and Gladbach’s Breel Embolo traded goals two minutes apart in the first quarter hour, but Maximilian Arnold struck in stoppage time to send Wolfsburg eighth.

American center back John Brooks went 90 minutes in the win.

Heck of a volley for the winner.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 RB Leipzig 15 10 3 2 42 16 26 4-2-1 6-1-1 33
 Mönchengladbach 15 10 1 4 31 18 13 6-1-1 4-0-3 31
 Borussia Dortmund 15 8 5 2 37 19 18 5-2-0 3-3-2 29
 FC Schalke 04 15 8 4 3 26 18 8 4-3-1 4-1-2 28
 Bayern Munich 15 8 3 4 41 21 20 5-1-2 3-2-2 27
 SC Freiburg 15 7 4 4 24 18 6 4-2-1 3-2-3 25
 Bayer Leverkusen 15 7 4 4 22 20 2 3-4-1 4-0-3 25
 VfL Wolfsburg 15 6 5 4 17 15 2 3-3-2 3-2-2 23
 1899 Hoffenheim 15 6 3 6 21 27 -6 3-1-4 3-2-2 21
 1. FC Union Berlin 15 6 2 7 19 20 -1 5-0-3 1-2-4 20
 FC Augsburg 15 5 5 5 24 28 -4 3-2-2 2-3-3 20
 Eintracht Frankfurt 15 5 3 7 24 23 1 4-3-1 1-0-6 18
 Hertha BSC Berlin 15 4 3 8 21 29 -8 3-0-4 1-3-4 15
 FSV Mainz 05 15 5 0 10 20 38 -18 3-0-4 2-0-6 15
 Werder Bremen 15 3 5 7 23 35 -12 1-2-4 2-3-3 14
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 15 3 3 9 16 32 -16 2-1-4 1-2-5 12
 1. FC Köln 15 3 2 10 14 30 -16 2-1-4 1-1-6 11
 SC Paderborn 15 2 3 10 18 33 -15 1-1-6 1-2-4 9

Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund beats leaders Gladbach; Bayern draws

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Another Saturday in the Bundesliga, another nutty set of results allowing a side the chance to claim the top of the league on Sunday.

David Wagner, Weston McKennie and Schalke are the ones licking their lips this time, knowing that a win at Hoffenheim will boost them into first.

[ MORE: Lampard “pleased” for Pulisic ]

Wolfsburg remains unbeaten with a draw, and dropped points for Borussia Monchengladbach, RB Leipzig, and Bayern Munich means an absurd nine teams are within two points of the top of the table.

Nine!

Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

Gladbach’s stay atop the league could last just one match day, as Thorgan Hazard set up Marco Reus for a 58th minute goal and a place one point back of the top.

Werder Bremen 1-1 Hertha Berlin

Josh Sargent’s 7th minute goal didn’t stand up, thanks to Hertha’s electric Dodi Lukebakio scoring with 20 minutes to play. Watch the American striker’s goal, here.

Augsburg 2-2 Bayern Munich

The champions’ stumbles continued, with first minute concession providing a test. Bayern’s red hot pair delivered a lead, with Robert Lewandowski answering in the 14th minute, and Serge Gnabry supplying a 49th minute lead.

Stoppage time was the downfall, though, as Alfred Finnbogason helped himself to the equalizer with all kinds of questions for the Bayern defense.

Elsewhere

Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen — Friday
Union Berlin 2-0 Freiburg
Fortuna Dusseldorf 1-0 Mainz
RB Leipzig 1-1 Wolfsburg
Koln v. Paderborn — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Hoffenheim v. Schalke — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Mönchengladbach 8 5 1 2 15 7 8 2-1-1 3-0-1 16
 VfL Wolfsburg 8 4 4 0 11 5 6 2-2-0 2-2-0 16
 Bayern Munich 8 4 3 1 22 10 12 2-1-1 2-2-0 15
 Borussia Dortmund 8 4 3 1 20 11 9 3-1-0 1-2-1 15
 RB Leipzig 8 4 3 1 16 8 8 1-2-1 3-1-0 15
 FC Schalke 04 7 4 2 1 14 7 7 2-1-1 2-1-0 14
 SC Freiburg 8 4 2 2 15 9 6 1-2-1 3-0-1 14
 Eintracht Frankfurt 8 4 2 2 14 10 4 3-2-0 1-0-2 14
 Bayer Leverkusen 8 4 2 2 12 11 1 2-2-0 2-0-2 14
 Hertha BSC Berlin 8 3 2 3 13 13 0 2-0-1 1-2-2 11
 Werder Bremen 8 2 3 3 13 17 -4 1-1-2 1-2-1 9
 1899 Hoffenheim 7 2 2 3 6 11 -5 1-0-2 1-2-1 8
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 8 2 1 5 10 14 -4 1-1-2 1-0-3 7
 1. FC Union Berlin 8 2 1 5 8 13 -5 2-0-3 0-1-2 7
 FC Augsburg 8 1 3 4 10 21 -11 1-2-1 0-1-3 6
 FSV Mainz 05 8 2 0 6 7 18 -11 1-0-2 1-0-4 6
 1. FC Köln 7 1 1 5 5 16 -11 0-0-3 1-1-2 4
 SC Paderborn 7 0 1 6 9 19 -10 0-0-4 0-1-2 1

Three things we learned from USMNT 7-0 Cuba

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They did what they had to do.

Full marks the United States men’s national team, who used a Friday visit from an undermanned and overwhelmed opponent to tune up for Tuesday’s big CONCACAF Nations League trip to Canada.

[ MORE: Match recap | Player ratings ]

Gregg Berhalter used the right mix of stars and reserves to keep his men reasonably fresh for the Canucks, getting a hat trick from Weston McKennie and three assists from Jordan Morris in a convincing win.

Berhalter’s plan followed against short-handed Cuba, stars get rest

Make no mistake about it: Christian Pulisic‘s place on the wing was meant to torture a Cuban side which had lost numerous players to defections over the last few months. Jordan Morris, Reggie Cannon, and the Yanks assortment of speedsters made sure the wide places were miserable places to operate.

The United States overran the Cubans on the flanks, scoring near identical goals in the first four minutes as Reggie Cannon sent Jordan Morris down the right for a cutback to Weston McKennie for the goal.

Morris soon joined the score sheet himself and forced Cuba into an own goal after McKennie’s back heel through ball.

Berhalter knew that McKennie, Jackson Yueill, and Cristian Roldan would supply enough industry and athleticism for the midfield to operate as three against a minnow like Cuba, and they delivered in spades (Roldan wasn’t terrific, but he ran his shorts off as designed).

And he got probable Tuesday starters McKennie and Morris out at halftime, Pulisic after the hour, and did not have to use Michael Bradley or DeAndre Yedlin. Pretty much perfect.

Yueill makes his case

Jackson Yueill has been ahead of his American MLS peers in passing, and took the opportunity presented to him by Cuba’s befuddled back line.

Yueill has been a regular fixture for San Jose but is just starting to get his chances under Berhalter, who has given Columbus protegee Trapp myriad chances to lay claim to the holding midfielder role which has long belonged to Michael Bradley.

It still does, for now, but Yueill has given Berhalter plenty to chew on. Now can he channel this performance against a non-existent Cuban midfield into consistent playmaking performances for his country, something he hasn’t done on a week-to-week basis in MLS?

In any event, his performance on Friday should finally relegate Wil Trapp behind him in the pecking order.

Weston runs wild

Given some freedom to attack in the midfield, Schalke mainstay Weston McKennie went absolutely nuts.

Yes, of course, consider the competition, but McKennie registered three goals and an assist in the first 13 minutes, and adding a scintillating assist on the own goal that made it 5-0.

After 45 minutes, Berhalter didn’t need to see any more.

“I took advantage of our style of play,” McKennie said on FS1 after the game. “One of my strengths is getting in the box and getting to the right place at the right time. … As a team we’ve been in camps pretty often and we’re getting familiar with each other. The whole team, the chemistry and connection on and off the field is unbelievable.”

McKennie has been solid for club and country the last two seasons, but saw a minor dip early in this season for Schalke (though that hasn’t stopped David Wagner from trotting him out regularly in the Bundesliga).

The offensive fireworks display will have been noticed here and abroad, and further laid clear that McKennie and still-injured Tyler Adams should be staples of the American midfield for the better part of the next decade.

I mean, look: